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    Illness forces end of a comic road for ‘Cul de Sac’ strip

    A digital copy of a past “Cul de Sac” comic strip.
    File
    A digital copy of a past “Cul de Sac” comic strip.

    WASHINGTON — Alice Otterloop has danced on her last manhole cover. Petey Otterloop has read his last ‘‘Little Neuro’’ comic (we can relate, brother). And thousands of ‘‘Cul de Sac’’ fans feel as bereft as Mr. Danders, the caged class guinea pig, suddenly left alone in the dark.

    After Sunday, Richard Thompson’s acclaimed Universal Uclick comic strip, born in 2004 in the pages of The Washington Post, will be no more. Thompson, 54, is unable to continue the strip because of his Parkinson’s disease, diagnosed four years ago.

    ‘‘I’ve gotten too unreliable to produce a daily strip,’’ Thompson said. ‘‘I’m thankful for all the newspapers who took a chance on ‘Cul de Sac.’ ”

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    Bill Watterson, creator of ‘‘Calvin and Hobbes,’’ said: ‘‘I’m just grateful we got to have ‘Cul de Sac’ as long as we did — it was a beautiful and fun gift. I admire not only Richard’s immense talent and artistic integrity but also the grace and openness with which he’s confronted his struggles. What gives me hope is knowing that Richard is nothing if not artistically versatile, so he may find new ways to create yet.’’

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    Thompson’s fans — many of whom have followed his work since ‘‘Poor Richard’s Almanac’’ debuted in the newspaper in 1997 — reacted to last month’s ‘‘Cul de Sac’’ announcement with disbelief, denial, or sad acceptance. And foremost, of course, was the concern for the Arlington, Va.,
    cartoonist’s health.

    To mark Thompson’s run with ‘‘Cul de Sac,’’ which won the esteemed Reuben Award last year and the Ignatz and Harvey awards this month, here are some farewells readers posted:

    ‘‘It became one of those little things that happy couples share that probably seem silly from the outside but are precious to those inside. The sheer understated brilliance of this strip, day after day, simply amazed us. ”

    mandraki

    ‘‘Your work has been a source of daily joy. Alice and Petey and dioramas and the mysteries of plastic sliding boards will never be forgotten (and Alice’s wild eyes get me every time). . . . [I]f you’ve ever wondered which strips ended up on refrigerators, in my case it’s ‘I was having a bad day and his big bucket head annoyed me.’ ”

    bengt16

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    ‘‘Will the class hamster ever find his love? Will Petey ever get some sun? I am so grateful for your brilliance and weirdness, many many thanks for all these years of laughter, the kind that makes me poke my husband and say: ‘Read this! And then give it back!’ ”

    maryellen2

    ‘‘This is the most wonderful ‘dysfunctional,’ and thereby normal, family ever! I knew kids like this! I WAS a kid like these!’’

    newsjunkey

    ‘‘It’s amazing how a comic strip about little kids can be so funny in so many unexpected ways. . . . I love how Thompson captures the notion that for very little kids, the whole world is fantastical and impossible to distinguish reality from fiction.”

    Jeanne

    ‘‘I grieve that Alice’s adventures are coming to an end, but I grieve more that a genius is being deprived by illness of sharing that genius with the rest of us. ’’

    PQSully

    ‘‘Deep brain stimulation may be the answer for Mr. Thompson. He’s deeply stimulated my brain (and funnybone) for many years!’’

    sonnymoon42